Gluten Free Nacho Cheese Sauce (No Velveeta) Recipe

Yields: About 2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (can substitute vegan butter)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (whole, 2%, or unsweetened plant-based)
  • 10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 ½ cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin (optional, but adds a nice depth)
  • 1-3 tablespoons pickled jalapeño brine (from the jar)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeños (optional)


  • Make the roux: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the gluten-free flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for about 1 minute until smooth.
  • Whisk in milk: Gradually add the milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly until it thickens slightly (about 2 minutes).
  • Melt the cheese: Reduce the heat to low. Add about half the shredded cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Repeat with the remaining cheese.
  • Season: Stir in the salt, pepper, and cumin (if using).
  • Spice it up (optional): For that classic nacho cheese flavor, add the jalapeño brine and chopped jalapeños. Start with a smaller amount and taste, adjusting to your heat preference.
  • Adjust consistency: If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk and stir until smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy: Serve warm with gluten-free tortilla chips, over nachos, on tacos, or drizzled over your favorite dishes.


  • Use quality cheese: Freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese will melt the best and provide the optimal flavor.
  • Keep it warm: If not serving immediately, transfer the sauce to a small slow cooker on the “warm” setting to prevent it from hardening.
  • Storage: Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a splash of milk if needed to loosen.


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